Eulogy for The Bomb

by Paul Perilli

The appearance of an email in my Inbox on the morning of January 9th brought news of the death of Thomas M, a.k.a. The Bomb. Reading it, the flood of images of him playing hoop on the asphalt court in our eastern Massachusetts hometown was immediate. I smiled at the thought of the five-ten floppy-haired Bomb dribbling in a kind of sideways crouch, his butt leading the way and his torso protecting the ball from hands that might desire it for themselves. I felt the heat of a blazing July sun and saw The Bomb lift off the ground in his white Cons with the pumpkin cocked over his right shoulder in a demonstration of perfect athletic balance and control. I silently applauded the quick flick of the wrist, the high arc, and the ho-hum look in The Bomb’s steely eyes after another sweet sfooshing snap of the net.

Then I remembered something The Bomb said one sultry summer afternoon when a few thousand games later it seemed we blinked our eyes to discover we were twenty-one. I have no idea what had preceded it, or if it was extemporaneous input, but he sent it out there and it stuck: “You’re only allowed so many baskets in a lifetime.”

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My Precious Stuff

by Joesph O’Day

Inside a bureau drawer in my parents’ dining room, there’s a grayed envelope filled with old pictures. I take it in hand and wonder if I should do a quick flip-through, a close inspection, or store it for later. Maybe I should just throw it out, since I’m already overloaded with photos.

I’ve taken this August week off from work to clear my mother’s house and prepare it  for sale. Since Dad’s death twenty years ago, Mom has lived alone in this large two-family, until the need for permanent nursing home care forced her to leave. At this moment, this first day of cleanout, the house’s sole occupants are seven decades worth of stuff, a testament to my family’s distaste for letting things go.

I inspect the envelope. Hidden beneath familiar prints are five 2 x 3 color photos, a family series—my mother and father, and Dad’s mother, father, sister and brother. They’re dressed formally, perhaps having been to church or a wedding. The day is sunny and dry, the background, the Salem Willows. My favorite is of Dad and Mom together. Dad’s in suit and tie, his arm around her waist. Mom’s in high heels and yellow dress, nestled into his side. They smile broadly. The date stamped on back is 1946. A year prior, my father had completed his World War II tour as an Army Medic. They’ll marry in three years, have my sister and me in eight. Mom told me how shy my father was when they dated. He was exactly what she wanted, a gentleman, quiet and mild-mannered, not savvy with women, physically strong and courageous. And a non-drinker; she’d witnessed enough alcoholism in her young life to want alcohol out completely. It’s a beautiful photo, something I’ll always treasure. 

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Swim Away, Little Ghost

by Dawn Corrigan

Sundin Richards, a Utah poet, committed suicide on June 19, 2015. He was forty-two years old.

I knew a different Sundin than everyone else did. I know how that sounds, but I persist in believing it’s true.

When Sundin was around other people—even at his most sober and self-deprecating and charming—there was always some discomfort and anxiety that, more often than not, manifested as hostility. Even in those lucky moments when it was only a trickle, the hostility remained.

When we were alone, though, he was different. Oh, not always. Sometimes, when he wasn’t feeling well, I got the same sardonic jerk everyone else did. But when he was relaxed and comfortable, it was a different story.

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